All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir
Paperback | Nov 2019 | Catapult | 9781948226370 | 256pp | 210x140mm | GEN | AUD$27.99, NZD$32.99
Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, NPR, Time, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Review of Books, Real Simple, Buzzfeed, Jezebel, Bustle, Entropy, PureWow, Brit + Co, Chicago Public Library, Electric Literature, Paste, Women.com, and more
What does it mean to lose your roots — within your culture, within your family — and what happens when you find them?
Nicole Chung was born severely premature in Seattle, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hope of giving her a better life, that forever feeling slightly out of place was her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as Nicole grew up — facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t see, finding her identity as an Asian American and as a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from — she wondered if the story she’d been told was the whole truth.
With warmth, candour, and startling insight, Nicole Chung tells of her search for the people who gave her up, which coincided with the birth of her own child. All You Can Ever Know is a profound, moving chronicle of surprising connections and the repercussions of unearthing painful family secrets — vital reading for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong.
'This book moved me to my very core. As in all her writing, Nicole Chung speaks eloquently and honestly about her own personal story, then widens her aperture to illuminate all of us. All You Can Ever Know is full of insights on race, motherhood, and family of all kinds, but what sets it apart is the compassion Chung brings to every facet of her search for identity and every person portrayed in these pages. This book should be required reading for anyone who has ever had, wanted, or found a family — which is to say, everyone.' — Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires everywhere and Everything I Never Told You
'Chung’s memoir is more than a thoughtful consideration of race and heritage in America. It is the story of sisters finding each other, overcoming bureaucracy, abuse, separation, and time.' — The New Yorker
'Chung’s search for her biological roots...has to be one of this year’s finest books, let alone memoirs...Chung has literary chops to spare and they’re on full display in descriptions of her need, pain and bravery.' — The Washington Post